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Wasserman hires veteran agent Shannon Casey

Wasserman Music has appointed Shannon Casey as SVP of fairs and festivals, to expand the agency’s reach in the business area.

Casey will start at Wasserman on 1 October, based in the agency’s Nashville office.

The veteran agent joins Wasserman after more than two decades at CAA in Nashville, representing some of the most notable live performance talent in the music business.

“I look forward to working with some of the most passionate and respected agents in the business,” says Casey.

“I can’t wait to reconnect with all the fair and festival buyers, with whom it has been my pleasure to work over the years”

“I can’t wait to reconnect with all the fair and festival talent buyers, with whom it has been my pleasure to work over the years, and I’m excited about creating new touring opportunities for a dynamic roster of talented artists.”

Wasserman SVP, Lenore Kinder, added: “The addition of Shannon to Wasserman Music brings irreplaceable experience and expertise in a rapidly evolving economy in fairs and festivals.

“She has cultivated decades of meaningful relationships with her buyers, and I have no doubt they’re just as eager to get back to business with her as we are!”

Today’s news follows the appointment of veteran agent Brent Smith as executive vice-president and managing executive, in July, and five new agents, earlier this month.

The appointments follow Wasserman group’s acquisition of Paradigm’s North American live music business.

 


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Former Paradigm agents join UTA

UTA has announced Jeffrey Hasson and Matt Meyer, both formerly of Paradigm Talent Agency, as its latest hires.

Hasson will be part of the leadership team in the Nashville office, while Meyer will be based in UTA’s Los Angeles headquarters.

Hasson has worked with artists including Young the Giant, Tori Kelly, Surfaces, Jamey Johnson, Dashboard Confessional, Dayglow, Blues Traveler, Coin and Ruston Kelly, among others. He joins UTA from Paradigm, after starting his career at Monterey Peninsular Artists (later acquired by Paradigm) in 2005.

“I’m so excited to join the UTA team, and a music department with such great momentum,” he comments. “The company’s perseverance and navigation through these trying times has been very admirable. I can’t wait to share all of UTA’s incredible cross-department resources with my clients to help elevate their business.”

Meyer has represented artists including Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Dicky, Don Toliver, Tinashe, Yungblud, Cash Cash, Eden and the Knocks. With Halsey, he played an instrumental role in fostering the singer’s development from an opening act to a festival and arena headliner.

“Jeffrey and Matt have impeccable track records of identifying and developing emerging artists”

He started his career an agent at electronic dance music agency AM Only, also later acquired by Paradigm.

“I am grateful to be joining the team at UTA during a time when they have showcased real innovation and done amazing work on behalf of their clients.

“Everyone has been extremely supportive of this next chapter in my career and I am looking forward to collaborating with my new colleagues to both expand my clients’ passions outside of music and creating a great touring business.”

“Jeffrey and Matt have impeccable track records of identifying and developing emerging artists and creating unique opportunities for their clients,” comments David Zedeck, co-head of UTA’s Music department. “Jeffrey is well-respected within the Nashville music community, and Matt has his finger firmly on the pulse for the next generation of hitmakers. We are thrilled to welcome both of them to our team.”

Hasson and Meyer’s additions follow the recent hiring of new co-head of music Samantha Kirby Yoh, as well as a round of lay-offs as the agency continues to weather the impact of Covid-19.

 


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CAA to lay off 90 agents, execs

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is preparing to lay off 90 agents and executives, as well as furloughing approximately 275 assistants, Variety has reported.

The staff cuts, effective this week, will be enacted across offices in London, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York.

According to sources close to the situation, the music and sports divisions are expected to be among the hardest hit.

“Effective this week, approximately 90 agents and executives from departments across the agency will be leaving,” says a CAA spokesperson.

“In addition, we are furloughing approximately 275 assistants and other staff. The company will continue to fully pay the health plan premiums for those being furloughed.

“This is a painful and unprecedented moment, and words are insufficient”

“This is a painful and unprecedented moment, and words are insufficient. Today, we simply say that we extend our sincere appreciation and deepest gratitude to our departing colleagues.”

CAA was among agencies and other live businesses to announce company-wide pay cuts in response to the coronavirus crisis, in the hope of “keep[ing] all employees financially whole through the end of our fiscal year, 30 September, 2020”.

The agency states it has honoured that commitment, including for those impacted by the announcement.

CAA had so far avoided reducing its workforce but now joins many across the live industry to do so, including fellow agencies WME and Paradigm, ticketers Eventbrite and TicketSwap and, most recently, AEG.

IQ has contacted CAA for further comment.

Photo: Minnaert/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)

 


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Beat the Street to launch in the US in 2020

Austria-based tour bus provider Beat the Street is making its debut stateside in January 2020, introducing the first double-decker coach to the American touring market.

Beat the Street, which counts AC/DC, Lionel Richie, Mötley Crüe, Beyoncé and Queen among its clients, is offering a double-decker, 16/14 bunk bus to the US touring market, in an exclusive deal with Belgian supplier Van Hool.

The US team, headed by Beat the Street’s Tim King, has already secured several key tours for 2020.

The company has also added the latest X3, single-decker models to its offering, from Canadian manufacturer Prevost.

“American clients have been asking us for many years to run our buses in the States”

“Double deckers are not yet used in the States for touring, but their additional capacity is well known to those US tour managers who use them with us in Europe and the UK,” comments Jörg Philipp, managing director and owner of Beat the Street.

“American clients have been asking us for many years to run our buses in the States. Our first building phase will run until August 2020, with more to come.”

The first new double-decker buses will be available to view at Beat the Street’s official US launch on 29 January 2020 in Nashville.

Production and tour managers can contact Tim King for more information.

 


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See Tickets expands in the US with Nashville office

Five years after its stateside launch, See Tickets will open a new US office, in Nashville, Tennessee, this autumn.

Vivendi-owned See has tripled its business in the US since its acquisition of Flavorus from the ailing SFX Entertainment in mid-2016, and counts Countryfest, Americanafest and Gulf Coast Jam festivals among its country and roots music clients.

Rob Wilmshurst, See Tickets’ global CEO, says: “We remain opportunistic where and when we expand. The US is doing great business and has found a rich seam in indie venues and festivals.” The company opened its first US office, in LA, in 2014.

“In Nashville, Chris will build on our existing relationships and provide the right care to our clients”

The Nashville office, See’s 15th, will be opened by Chris Donohue, the company’s vice-president of business strategy and partnerships in North America. He will split his time “assisting with growth and product development for the company’s growing operations in North America”, according to a statement.

Boris Patronoff, CEO of See Tickets North America, comments: “We are fortunate to have someone of Chris’s tremendous experience and insight to open our Nashville office. In Nashville, Chris will build on our existing relationships and provide the right care to our clients.”

Globally, UK-headquartered See Tickets sold 20 million tickets in 2018, across offices in the UK, the US, France (where Digitick was recently rebranded as See), Germany, Spain and Portugal.

 


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Grand Ole Opry GM Sally Williams join LN Nashville

Live Nation has appointed Sally Williams, a veteran of the Nashville music scene, president of Nashville music and strategy.

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Williams will report to Live Nation’s president of US concerts, Bob Roux, and oversee the company’s overall business strategy in the city, regarded as the home of country music.

According to a Live Nation statement, Williams will, from September, “lead the company’s overall efforts in the programming and marketing of Live Nation’s concert activity in the greater Nashville market, and collaborate with Nashville-based artists to develop and execute their vision on a worldwide basis.”

Williams will also oversee operations of Live Nation’s existing portfolio of Nashville venues, including Ascend Amphitheater (6,800-cap.), Graystone Quarry (7,500-cap.) and the under-development Brooklyn Bowl, while also leading efforts in the development of new venues.

She joins after nearly 20 years at Ryman Hospitality Properties/Opry Entertainment Group, where she was most recently senior vice-president of programming and artist relations, as well as general manager of the legendary Grand Ole Opry.

“Sally is a Nashville music industry icon, and the perfect executive to oversee Live Nation’s growing footprint”

She has also served as chairman of the Country Music Association (CMA), president of Leadership Music and president of the Opry Trust Fund, and currently sits as co-chair of the Music City Music Council and marketing chair for the CMA board of directors.

“Sally is a Nashville music industry icon, and the perfect executive to oversee Live Nation’s growing footprint in Nashville,” says Roux. “She’s spent decades contributing to the success of Nashville artists, venues, and events, and certainly the community itself, and we’re extremely fortunate to have someone with her industry knowledge and dedication to live music join our company.”

“For decades, Nashville has not only been my home, but also my passion,” said Williams. “It’s been a privilege to be in the middle of such incredible growth and I’m excited about what’s on the horizon.

“Live Nation has built a strong business here and has a terrific team in place. It will be an honour to collaborate with them to create world-class experiences for fans and artists here in Nashville and beyond.”

 


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Paradigm makes new hire in Nashville office

Paradigm Talent Agency has hired Chappel McCollister as senior vice president of strategic partnerships in the agency’s Nashville office.

McCollister will represent Paradigm’s music clients, with a focus on the Nashville roster, across a range of areas including brand and corporate partnerships, premium VIP experiences, product licensing and strategic investments.

“We’re ecstatic to welcome Chappel into our Paradigm Nashville collective,” says Nashville office leader Jonathan Levine. “Chappel, with his extraordinary global purview and expertise, as well as his approach to artist development and career building, perfectly aligns with our philosophies of elevating our level of service and strategic partnerships to unprecedented heights.”

McCollister joins Paradigm from artist management company Sandbox Entertainment, where he was the executive producer of the Showtime documentary on country stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

“Chappel perfectly aligns with our philosophies of elevating our level of service and strategic partnerships to unprecedented heights”

Previously, McCollister was the director of tour partnerships at G7 Entertainment Marketing, overseeing global tour partnership activations including U2 with Salesforce, Taylor Swift with Keds and Diet Coke, and Pink with Covergirl.

“I am extremely excited to join the Paradigm team,” comments McCollister. “I have long admired their strategic approach to artist development. Paradigm’s passion for music and the artist is contagious. I’m honoured to be a part of such an innovative and collaborative organisation.”

Paradigm recently named live music industry veteran Marty Diamond as head of global music. Diamond heads up the agency’s music executive group and serves on the boards of international partners Coda Agency and X-Ray Touring.

Paradigm’s music division represents artists including Bad Bunny, Billie Eilish, David Guetta, Kacey Musgraves, Missy Elliott, Shawn Mendes and Skrillex.

 


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Former WME partner Beckham launches management firm

The former co-partner at WME Nashville, Rob Beckham, has joined forces with Nashville-based manager Bill Simmons to launch the Artist Management Group (AMG).

The management firm counts Brad Paisley and Chris Young as its first clients. The pair follow Simmons from Fitzgerald-Hartley Company, at which Simmons was a partner.

Nashville management firm the Fitzgerald-Hartley Company announced it was shuttering on Monday (6 May), after 42 years. The announcement was made shortly before Beckham and Simmons made the AMG launch public.

Co-founders Larry Fitzgerald and Mark Hartley will continue to work in artist management, with Fitzgerald focusing solely on longtime client Vince Gill.

Managers responsible for Fitzgerald-Hartley Company acts including Olivia Newton-John, Kellie Pickler, Eric Paslay and Randy Houser will reveal plans in due course.

Co-head of the WME Nashville office until October last year, Beckham’s departure prompted much speculation throughout the Nashville music industry and wider country music scene.

The management firm counts Brad Paisley and Chris Young as its first clients

WME Nashville is now run by co-heads Joey Lee, Jay Williams, Greg Oswald and Scott Clayton, who joined from rival Creative Artists Agency in November 2017.

Previously representing new AMG client Paisley, Beckham’s other past clients include Brett Eldredge, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton and Chase Bryant.

Beckham has been named talent agent of the year by the Country Music Association and the TJ Martell ambassador of the year. He has also served as president of the CMA’s board of directors.

Although Nashville remains the heartland of country music, the genre has enjoyed a global revitalisation over the past few years. Artists including Kacey Musgraves, Florida Georgia Line and Midland and festivals such as AEG’s Country to Country have aided the popularity of country music among a younger, more international crowd.

The country music panel at this year’s International Live Music Conference discussed the diversity of country music fans, its growth across Australian, European and even Asian touring markets and the high levels of engagement between fans and artists.

 


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Steve Lassiter named APA co-head, worldwide music

APA has promoted partner and agent Steve Lassiter, who has been with the agency since 1998, to co-head of worldwide music.

In the new role, Lassiter (pictured) – formerly senior VP and head of concerts for APA Nashville – will oversee APA’s concerts division alongside fellow co-heads Steve Martin and Bruce Solar.

At APA (Agency for the Performing Arts), Lassiter represents country, rock and Americana stars including the Marshall Tucker Band, Kansas, Travis Tritt, David Lee Murphy, Jim Messina and the Outlaws. He also sits on the Academy of Country Music board and is a member of the Country Music Association (CMA).

“Steve has done a tremendous job guiding the success of our Nashville operations”

“Steve has done a tremendous job guiding the success of our Nashville operations,” comments APA president/CEO Jim Gosnell.  “The quality of his leadership and contributions to our overall success cannot be understated, and I’m very pleased to honour his hard work and dedication with this well-deserved promotion.”

Lassiter adds: “This is an exciting chapter in my life. I look forward to creating new success stories with Jim, Bruce and Steve as our agency continues to grow and evolve in lockstep with Music City.”

In addition to Nashville, APA has headquarters in Beverly Hills (Los Angeles), New York, Atlanta, London and Toronto.

 


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CMA welcomes three new staff members

Three new members of staff join the Nashville-based Country Music Association (CMA) this January. Emily Arvanitis takes on the role of live events coordinator, whereas Michelle Kirk and Megan Sykes join the strategic partnerships department, as director of integrated marketing and director of sales development and strategy, respectively.

Both Arvanitis and Kirk have worked at CMA previously in different roles. Arvanitis rejoins from management company Sandbox Entertainment (Midland, Faith Hill, Kacey Musgraves) and Kirk moves following a stint as brand partnership agent at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME). Sykes also joins from an agency role, with Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

The two roles within CMA’s strategic partnerships department are newly created, as the company continues to focus on developing strategic marketing efforts. Established in 1958, CMA is the first trade association to promote a single genre of music, stating it is “dedicated to bringing the poetry and emotion of country music to the world”.

Country music has enjoyed a global revitalisation over the past few years, with artists such as Grammy Award-winning Musgraves bringing the genre to younger, international audiences. Spotify statistics show that country music streaming has seen a 21% increase outside of the United States since 2015, a figure that is expected to grow in coming years.

“CMA is dedicated to bringing the poetry and emotion of country music to the world”

Users in anglophone countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand are most likely to listen to country tunes, with a large following also presenting itself among Scandinavian listeners.

The resurgence of the genre is reflected in the popularity of live country music events. In 2013, AEG Europe and SJM Concerts worked with CMA to create London-based Country to Country (C2C) music festival. Since its inauguration, C2C has expanded to become Europe’s biggest country music festival. Last year, C2C played host to more than 80,000 country music lovers over three days in London, Dublin and Glasgow.

In response to demand among Australasian listeners, CMA has recently announced an international artist-focused touring series, Introducing Nashville. The tour launches in March in Australia and New Zealand, featuring artists Brandy Clark, Devin Dawson, Lindsay Ell and Tenille Towers. An industry event in Japan concludes the tour.

 


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